PRESS RELEASE PNCR LABOUR DAY MESSAGE 2008 People’s National Congress Reform Congress Place, Sophia Georgetown, Guyana. Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The People’s National Congress Reform (PNCR) joins all Guyanese workers as well as those of our Region and the world at large in celebrating Labour Day. This is usually the occasion when the workers of the world and the organizations which represent them take stock of their situations and conditions and resolve to take strong and determined actions to ensure that their gains are preserved, and that the fight continues for a better future.

A similar exercise of stock taking in Guyana will reveal that the conditions and situations of the Guyanese workers are parlous. Even before the advent of the current global economic events, characterized by the sub-prime crisis, the general instability of the global financial system, and the food crisis, the Guyanese worker was caught up in a vicious struggle to survive and ensure his or her material betterment. Indeed, with the introduction of the unconscionable 16% Value Added Tax (VAT) in 2007 the cost of living in Guyana spiked, considerably undermining the ability of our workers to provide for their families and sustain themselves. In particular, the rising cost of living has been the bane of the workers of this country and as yet the Jagdeo administration has not recognized that it is necessary to take the required measures to reduce the VAT tax to 8% and therefore bring a measure of relief to the workers of this country.

In the circumstances therefore the PNCR urges the Trade Union Movement and the workers they represent to speak out boldly on this occasion for better wages and some form of cost of living allowance to cushion the effect of the rising cost of living. The Trade Union Movement must also demand that the workers be empowered to be in a position to cope with the ongoing global crisis in food, which has been recognized by all the major International Organizations in the world, including the United Nations, and which has already sparked riots in many countries.

Any action contemplated by the unions in Guyana must be premised on the need for Trade Union unity. The workers must therefore insist that the extended fracture in the Trade Union Movement is not to their benefit but creates the conditions for the Jagdeo administration to keep the trade Unions weak while carrying out an assault on them in the form of the withdrawal of the subvention for the TUC and the imposition of meager wage increases. The PNCR believes that the occasion of May Day offers the Trade Union Movement another opportunity to raise its voice boldly for the restoration of that subvention, collective bargaining rights and the check-off system for the Guyana Public Service Union.

On this occasion therefore the PNCR recognizes the critical role that Trade Unions have played in the political, economic and social development of the country and asserts that such a role can only continue if the Trade Union Movement as a whole remains united and protect the interests of the workers of this country. The Party also admonishes the trade union movement to recognize that the current era demands that Trade Unions must make necessary adjustments to cope with the existing and emerging challenges, so that they can survive and remain relevant.

People’s National Congress Reform
Congress Place, Sophia
Georgetown, Guyana.
Wednesday, April 30, 2008